by Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S

Where was your first playroom? Was it on a checkered sofa where you slew vicious dragons? Was it in the front yard where you deemed yourself captain of the oak tree and warded off attacking pirates? Was it downstairs in the basement where you taught your teddy bears their ABC’s? Was it on the neighborhood roads where you ran up and down the asphalt until the streetlamps called you home?

Where was your first playroom?

Was it on the top bunk of your bedroom where you dragged your hands across the popcorn ceiling and -the threat of asbestos be damned – created a winter wonderland indoors? Was it in your backyard where the best drinks came from the garden hose and you called your shot as you crushed a whiffle ball over your neighbor’s fence? Was it in the woods behind your school where you built forts and danced through piles of leaves? Was it in the creek behind your house where you caught snails, naming them and pledging to keep them as pets forever?

Where was your first playroom?

Mine was on the shores of Connecticut, a place I’ve visited each year of my life. I spent hours playing on the beach, in the brush, turning leaves and limbs into my house. I tended to my new place. I organized it. I cooked. I made things. I found a home. And, in doing so, I found myself.

Nature helped. The tactile sensation of the sand beneath my feet. The sound of the ocean waves slapping against the rocks. The heat upon my back. I learned to listen, feel, and honor my own rhythm and creativity. I started to learn how to be me.

Where was your first playroom? Odds are it wasn’t inside a playroom at all; the joys of childhood can’t be contained within four walls. This is a good reminder as we work with kids. They can frolic, imagine, and pretend everywhere and anywhere. They’re never limited to a playroom, not with an entire play-planet that is theirs for the taking.

From a swingset to a grassy knoll, play therapy can happen outside of the playroom. Play therapy in a Pontiac? A sand tray in a sandlot? The setting doesn’t matter! Why? Because it’s the relationship between clinician and client that truly counts.  Check out Play Therapy in Non-Traditional Play Therapy Settings, a pre-recorded webinar from the Lessons from the Playroom Webinar Series that explores boundaries, containment, and how play therapy looks without toys or walls.